Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pointless Post #2

I wish I could Google search real life (or at least CTRL + F). There's a USB cable somewhere in my room and I can't find it. It's frustrating, like stepping in dog poo on the sidewalk. Harumph.

What are Pointless Posts?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Climate Action Dividend + Carbon Tax

I received my Climate Action Dividend cheque in the mail for $100 yesterday (or the day before yesterday? I can't remember). Yay money. Initially I wanted to get a gun... but that's not happening anytime soon... (and perhaps not an "enviromentally sound purchase" that the government would approve of.. *shrugs*). Anyways, boo carbon tax. It's such a.... um... yeah. I think everyone feels the same way about the $100 cheque and carbon tax. Like a friend said, it's like beating a dead horse, so really, there's not much left for me to say.

I still think this whole "lets stop global warming" thing is a dumb fad too. I'm really beginning to hate the words/phrases: going green, [insert adjective/noun] environment, carbon [insert noun], environmentally [insert adjective/noun], greenhouse [insert noun], etc.

....on the other hand, yay lower income taxes; hopefully the lower income taxes really will offset the other increased taxes as it's planned to. And maybe this is the only way to start teaching people to start being better stewards and not so wasteful. I guess I can't complain too much if that happens.

...on the other hand, I think it's sort of sad if it has to come down to that... that money is the reason that teaches people how to be more responsible of physical things (because of what 1 Me 6:10 says). Since I was young, I've always been taught to recycle and limit my waste/stuff I throw out and to only purchase things that are necessary... (ha! I guess that wouldn't be true if I bought that gun now huh?)

...on another hand (if you've been counting yes, I have four hands*) if this carbon tax takes more people off from driving on the road and more people start riding bicycles, then I'll give a whoop, whoop. I like bicycles. Even more than Queen.

I think my $100 will go towards getting a new toilet. The one in our house is cracked and leaking this blue liquid... and we don't even use blue coloured toilet cleaner...*shrugs*

*Disclaimer: Kidding, I only have two hands. And been seeing gas for 144 to as high as 149¢/litre.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pointless Post #1

Good sweet crap, my RSS feed is showing there are three new posts on the Terriblelands?!?!
In one day?!? On a Friday night?!?

yeaaaaah, go Tim go!
What are Pointless Posts?

Pointless Posts

(as idea'd way back here.... you have to scroll down a bit)

Pointless Posts are little thought-bits of Tim. Sometimes a random thought, idea, or musing that has popped into Tim's mind. Perhaps philosophical, perhaps non-sensical, but hopefully amusing, and funny. Most importantly, Pointless Posts are pointless, Tim's bits (as opposed to tidbits) that will most likely not add any value to your life.

Current thoughts about TransLink

(From my initial post about TransLink’s Clean Air Day promotion, now comes a follow-up post that touches on it, plus more, with BONUS: it may be difficult to follow with my scatter brain thoughts!)

I became a regular user of TransLink when I started uni at SFU. As an everyday user, I have made observations, kept up on most news, and discussed casually with friends about TransLink services. Lately, the thing that has ticked me off about TransLink are their poor choices.

But before I do list my negative opinions, I must first commend TransLink for its service as a whole. As a public service that runs and serves the greater population of Greater Vancouver (I don't care much for the new "Metro Vancouver" thing) it has done just that. I can't imagine how difficult the logistics is to manage everything, as well as managing employees, then managing customers, and then managing toolshed customers who try to abuse other customers and/or employees, etc. It must be increasingly frustrating, as rider ship increases, as the population increases, yadda yadda… So kudos for that.

Also, more recently, I must commend the fact that on most buses, they've updated the dinging light thingy where it says "Next Stop" or "Stop Requested" when you pull the cord for your stop. It'll now show the name of the street you're on (or the street you've passed, or nearby - its not perfect yet) and it will say the name of the stop/street too over the bus speakers, which is very handy. This is a cool and beneficial feature for bus riders.

However, there are some serious negativities that I must address.

To start off, the SkyTrain stations are missing key important elements. The first things I noticed are maps and relevant signs. There should be SkyTrain maps, something similar to that link, but with every stop clearly labeled, with what area of town its in. Also, the signs at all Millennium Line stations should have "Westbound" and Eastbound" signs just as the Expo Line stations do. It is extremely confusing for new riders to figure out which train goes which way when you don't know which platform you're on in the first place. To be blunt, it is plain stupidity, because it's not consistent with its predecessors (the Expo Line stations).

A more important and controversial (as shown on recent newscasts because of swarmings/beatings) element missing is personnel/security person(s) at EVERY station. You would think that at a terminal where at times hundreds of people flow through simultaneously, there would be at least one employee at hand in case of emergency or even to answer a question, but no. Most of the time, there are none to be found. Sometimes (I repeat, sometimes) there are a few in one place. But where there is variability, some stations being more busier than others, the former is what I have observed and heard to be true. I have tried to think it through, and my conclusions is that the problem comes down to money.

There are 33 SkyTrain stations. Multiply that by 18 hours of work (I’m averaging SkyTrain hours run 18 out of 24 hours) at a pay rate of $15/hour (I chose that number as an estimate). The pay would be hourly assuming no one would want to do this fulltime, and therefore there would be three 6-hour shifts to attend a SkyTrain station each day. Now multiply that by the days of the year and we’re at about $3.2 million. This is a good starting estimate to work with because firstly, I’m just estimating with random numbers, and secondly, I have not taken into account unions, holiday pay, overtime, benefits, etc and thirdly, I’m not a math/finance expert (up yours BUS 312, I passed but barely!). Then if this were to happen, I think it can be assumed that the public would probably push to have attendants at all bus loops as well so they can feel even safer there as well and of course, the dollar amount just skyrockets.

Now, this leads me into a new area, a more “fun” area – poor choices related to money. Money is a big problem because of poor choices such as the TransLink Board pay raise groin-kick, and from my initial post, useless Clean Air Day buttons. I call the pay raise a groin-kick (I could have used more vulgar language) because this new TransLink board recently gave themselves a pay raise behind closed door meetings, after it recently decided they would from then on hold meetings behind closed doors, barring public accountability. (In case you’re wondering, my thought process is this: Hold meetings behind closed doors = lets knock people over. Give yourself a gigantic pay raise behind your closed door meeting = lets kick the knocked down people in the groin). Maybe if we took the boards pay raise money, and used it to pay for new signs and security personnel at SkyTrain stations… No, too unrealistic…

I wonder how often the TransLink board members, Dale Parker, James Bruce, Cindy Chan Piper, R. W. (Bob) Garnett, Sarah Goodman, Nancy Olewiler, Robert Tribe, Leslie (Skip) Triplett, and David Unruh use public transit everyday anyways. It’s stated “Ms. Chan Piper is a long-time transit user,” but she’s 1 out of 9 people, and you have to wonder how often/long does she ride now, and how valid that statement is too.

Wow I’ve rambled/ranted a lot.

Time to get into the real meat: Clean Air Day buttons.
This was a waste of TransLink money because it is a tacky idea. I’m sorry to whoever it was who thought this up, but it’s tacky. The design of the button is tacky. The message, noble, but tacky. As a shallow human being, the last thing I want to do on an early Wednesday morning (when I’m not fully awake), is to get handed a button, wear it, and then have my fellow bus riders laugh at me for wearing a tacky button like a toolshed (thanks for the free coffee though McDonalds). I didn’t see one person put it on, or wear it the remaining Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Except me. I wore it those days… to prove a point. I reluctantly put it on Wednesday afternoon when I was returning home from school, and Thursday, and Friday. I didn’t win anything. Bus drivers ignored me. I took it off Friday afternoon and now it sits on my desk, waiting to be recycled. Interestingly enough, I saw a guy on Tuesday, June 17 (and this ended 10 days ago) wearing the button. I secretly laughed inside at him, like the shallow little human being I am.

TransLink should have just handed out their prizes randomly (randomly to ME [giggle]), without the buttons, and then used the money that was intended to make the buttons, to buy some trees, and then plant them. Or to buy some Super Soakers (Lonnie Johnson, you brilliant man) to spray toolshed smokers at bus stops).

Ugh, I’ve had enough. I started this post more than 2 hours ago…

Seacrest out.
(Lame, I know, but still somewhat funny!)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

xkcd is funny - (aka. temporarily no new posts)

xkcd, despite some crudeness (which seems difficult to get away from when in search of quality humour), is trés drôle.

But before we get to the two illustrations that made me laugh heartily, I would like to say that while flipping through channels, I saw a clip of Joel Osteen on 60 Minutes. After watching him, I am certain that I want to punch him in the face. This is a bad, because it would not be biblical for me to do so. I feel this way, because his theology, (if you can even call it that) itself is not biblical, and he made no attempt to hide that during his interview (see the links gUmmI posted here). And he did some fake crying as well, which to me, is just asking for it. It'll probably be up on YouTube in a few days. [gritting teeth] Bam.

EDIT: June 11, 2008 - added link to YouTube and what do you know, I was watching a re-run...

Also saw gas for $146.8¢/litre...

And now the xkcd funny:

"Fans "


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Clean Air Day - June 4, 2008!" says TransLink!

While transferring buses this morning, I received a coupon for a free cup of coffee at McDonalds (not pictured) and this card (see pictured) with a little button attached to it. My assumption is that the free coffe coupon was used to lure people into accepting the card and button as well. My intial thoughts in receiving said items were not very optimistic at first. In fact they are still not optimistic.

Front of card and button:


I'lll write more about Translink and these buttons some other time. So many assignments and readings. Week 5. Bleagh....
Also, Clean Air Day? Bleaaaagh...